Nightwish, Sabaton, Delain – April 11, 2015 – The Palladium, Worcester, MAMonday, 13th April 2015
Going to a symphonic oriented metal concert in New England is like a special event. It brings out all sorts – from people who like to dress in certain themes, diehards ready to scream at every decibel all the way to families attending together. Knowing that Nightwish is firmly the front runners in the genre, a sell-out for the 2,000 plus capacity Palladium in Worcester would be inevitable – it was only a question of when. Hoping to avoid the long entry line by getting there 15 minutes after the supposed 7pm doors didn’t work out though – as they just started moving the people through the pat downs and fellow Dead Rhetoric scribe Matt Bower and our friends would have to snake around to the end of the line…a full mile away.
As a result of our hour long journey to get through the doors of the venue Delain would go on as many attendees were still outside, but taking in at least 4 songs in their 35 minute set you can sense that this Dutch act are doing just fine supplying their fans with a hefty dose of melodic, symphonic metal. Vocalist Charlotte Wessels is very comfortable on stage, knowing when to charge up the crowd, and the band would deliver great renditions of “Stardust”, “April Rain”, and the crowd pleasing closer “We Are the Others”. Headlining these same bigger stages in North America can’t be far off in this act’s future based on their reception this evening.
After a lightning quick change over, Sabaton took to the stage at 8:50 pm and wasted little time proving their military themed power metal has won the hearts of Worcester to the same degree as audiences the world over. Joakim’s spot on stage presence and ability to poke fun at himself while staying in the moment is a treasure to behold – be it through Michael Jackson jokes (‘he wanted to keep in touch with me’) or stating that ‘the guitar players get all the girls… especially when they take a look at me’. And the songs consistently get results- clapping, sing-a-longs, hand gestures in unison, or bouncing up and down like a pogo stick, you can’t go wrong with “To Hell and Back”, “Carolus Rex”, “Swedish Pagans”, and set closer “Metal Crue”. It was nice to hear “Uprising” make an appearance in their 50 minute set time. This is my third time seeing them in a year, but I forecast the next North American run will be of a headlining variety, as they’ve earned their stripes.
This would be Nightwish’s third North American tour date in support of their recently released Endless Forms Most Beautiful album, their first to feature new vocalist Floor Jansen. Wintersun drummer Kai Hahto is also a part of the lineup, and Troy Donockley gets more of a feature on stage through his uillean pipes, tin whistle, and guitar/vocal support. Wasting no time out of the gate in introducing the audience to the new album, “Shudder Before the Beautiful” and “Yours Is An Empty Hope” started the set off brilliantly – the latter getting a large contingent of audience members to chant during the instrumental parts in all the right places. Floor has that rare quality of covering all eras of Nightwish professionally – “She Is My Sin” and the double shot from Oceanborn “Stargazers” (which has been vacant from the set for a decade) and “Sleeping Sun” proving her operatic range is well intact, while Anette-oriented favorites like “Amaranth” and “Storyteller” got huge, rapturous reactions.
As a sextet a lot of times the multi-colored lighting schemes and changing backdrops added the correct ambiance, the focus is purely on the sweeping emotions and large dynamic/bombastic elements that make Nightwish so large in their symphonic metal style. Bassist Marco Hietala handled the first half of “The Islander” solo, the crowd joining in the word festivities much like you would hear in “The Bard Song” from Blind Guardian. You could sense genuine happiness from all the members at various times (keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen especially), as the band intertwines as best as possible the older classics while giving the listeners a hefty 7 song dose of the new record.
Favorites included the stirring “My Walden”, chapters 2 and 3 of the epic “The Greatest Show on Earth”, plus “I Want My Tears Back” and the double shot encore of “Ghost Love Score” and “Last Ride of the Day.” 100 minutes later, the sold out audience would give a longer applause break at the conclusion, as the band promised they would be back soon for another run of dates. Reigning supreme once again, maybe this could be one of the rare acts to take things up a notch in North America and hit the 3,000-5,000 seat places if their popularity keeps skyrocketing.